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Mom’s Best Chili Recipe is a mild chili recipe with ground beef that is easy to make on the stovetop. It’s perfect when you’re craving simple comfort food from home!

bowl of mild chili with ground beef and kidney beans and cheese cooked on stovetop

Easy Ground Beef Chili Recipe

This easy chili recipe is a very mild chili recipe that my mom made all the time when I was growing up. It’s perfect for an easy dinner or game day get together or whenever you want some hearty comfort food. It’s mild enough for kids, so If you’re not a fan of spicy chili, this classic chili is the best recipe for you!

I already have a few other chili recipes on the blog. Can you have too many recipes for chili in your collection?  My white chicken chili is a family favorite. Easy 2 Bean Chili has a little bit more heat than this one, and my Beefy Three Bean Chipotle Chili is anything but mild!

Personally, I love spicy food, but not everyone in the family does — And I love to get creative with the flavors whenever I’m cooking. So normally, I use a bit of cinnamon, a little paprika and some garlic whenever I make chili. But my mom’s old fashioned chili recipe is my favorite way to make a pot of chili.

Even though it’s a simple recipe, it’s downright delicious, as most simple recipes are!

ground beef, tomatoes, kidney beans, pepper, onion, broth and spices


You only need a few simple ingredients for this classic chili recipe. And the best part is that you probably already have everything you need. If not, you can find the ingredients for this easy recipe in most grocery stores. Full amounts are in the printable recipe card below.

  • Ground beef — I use extra lean ground beef
  • Onion — either white onion or yellow onion, diced
  • Bell pepper — I use a diced yellow bell pepper for color, but a green bell pepper, red bell pepper or orange pepper works fine.
  • Kidney beans — drained and rinsed
  • Tomato sauce — not marinara sauce
  • Diced tomatoes — undrained
  • Beef broth or water
  • Seasonings — chili powder, salt and black pepper

How to Make Stovetop Chili

First, cook the onion in a little olive oil until soft. I use my Dutch oven, but a large stockpot or any large pot will also work.

Then, add the ground beef, and cook over medium high heat until it is no longer pink.

If you aren’t using extra lean beef, you may want to drain the grease.

brown ground beef with onions in dutch oven

I usually like to season the chili as I go. So, I add some as the meat cooks and more after I add the remaining ingredients.

When the beef is done cooking, add everything else. Stir the ingredients well, then heat chili until bubbling. Reduce heat to low, and cover the dutch oven.

ground beef, peppers, kidney beans and tomatoes in dutch oven on stovetop

How Long to Cook Chili on the Stove

Cook the chili on low heat to medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes. You can cook it longer, but 30 minutes is enough time for the flavors to blend if you’re in a hurry. Make sure you stir the chili from time to time with a wooden spoon or large spoon. I cook chili covered or with the lid slightly ajar if needed to reduce the liquid.

mom's best chili recipe with beef and beans in pot

What to serve with Chili?

We love to serve this easy beef chili recipe with shredded cheddar cheese or cheddar blend, sour cream, corn chips, tortilla chips, crusty bread and crackers. Homemade garlic bread is amazing with chili!

You can add your favorite toppings to this stovetop chili recipe, such as green onions, jalapeño pepper slices, cooked bacon, avocado, hot sauce or fresh diced tomatoes.

mild chili with ground beef in dutch oven on table

Variations and Tips

We love this homemade chili recipe as is, but you can easily change it up. You can add more chili powder if you want more heat, but I’d start out with a smaller amount and go from there.

You can also add another can of tomatoes or additional broth or water if you like your chili with more liquid. I add garlic powder every now and then, so feel free to add garlic, cayenne pepper or your favorite spices.

If you don’t have red kidney beans, sub pinto beans or black beans, instead. You can also use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef.

Want to make slow cooker chili? You can also start this classic beef chili earlier in the day and let it hang out in your slow cooker on low for 4 hours or until you’re ready to eat. Easy peasy, and the chili will be thicker!

You can convert this ground beef chili recipe stove top version to a pressure cooker version with my Instant Pot chili recipe.

If you prefer thicker chili, remove the lid and allow the chili to simmer little longer to let the liquid reduce.

mild chili with ground beef in crockpot slow cooker

How to Store Leftovers

Store leftover chili in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It keeps fresh for up to 4 days. You can freeze chili in a freezer safe container or ziploc bag for up to 3 months for best taste.

mom's best chili recipe with shredded cheese in bowl
5 from 22 votes

Mom’s Best Chili Recipe (easy stovetop version)

By: Dee
Mom's Best Chili Recipe is a mild chili recipe with ground beef that is easy to make on the stovetop or slow cooker. It's perfect when you're craving simple comfort food from home!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 10



  • 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 14-oz cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water or beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt plus more, to taste if needed
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
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  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, cook onions in olive oil until soft.
  • Add ground beef, and cook over medium high heat until no longer pink. Drain fat if needed, if not using extra lean beef.
  • Stir in the remaining ingredients, heat until bubbling, cover, and simmer on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes or until ready to eat



I usually fill the empty 8-oz can of tomato sauce with water and add that. You can add more or less, according to your preference
Chili can be transferred to a slow cooker and kept warm on low until ready to eat.
If you prefer a thicker chili, remove lid and allow to simmer until liquid reduces.


Calories: 102kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 42mg, Sodium: 287mg, Potassium: 287mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 493IU, Vitamin C: 16mg, Calcium: 12mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Like this? Leave a comment below!

My whole family absolutely loves this delicious chili — They say it’s the best homemade chili recipe ever! It’s one of our favorite dinners, along with creamy shells and beef and ground beef stroganoff!

I hope you enjoy Mom’s best chili recipe as much as my family does!If you do make this beef and bean chili recipe, please leave a star rating and comment.

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Recipe published in 2017 and updated in 2024.

mom's best chili recipe in ramekin

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Recipe Rating


  1. Jeff says:

    Great stuff! Followed the recipe exactly and it’s the best homemade chili ever! Serving it often this winter5 stars

  2. Ruth says:

    I really love this chili recipe! It’s not overly spicy and my toddlers can enjoy it along with the adults. It’s packed with flavor and so easy to make. I’ve found that leftovers freeze very well too. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!5 stars

  3. Patrick says:

    Made this for the football games last Sunday. Everybody loved it! Going to have to make more next time!5 stars